Left-handed in a right-handed world: the battle against bias

Photo by santosh verma / Unsplash

Left-handed discrimination refers to unfair treatment or negative attitudes towards individuals who are left-handed. Despite left-handedness being a natural variation, many left-handed individuals have experienced discrimination due to their handedness. This article will explore the prevalence, origins, impact, and ways to combat left-handed discrimination.

Prevalence of Left-Handed Discrimination

Many left-handed individuals have experienced discrimination, from subtle comments and assumptions to outright bullying. According to a survey by the Left-Handers Club, 90% of left-handed individuals reported experiencing discrimination in their lifetime.

The social and psychological impact of left-handed discrimination can be severe, leading to feelings of isolation, anxiety, and low self-esteem. For example, some left-handed individuals may develop negative attitudes towards their own handedness, even going so far as to try and change it.

Origins of Left-Handed Discrimination

The discrimination against left-handed individuals has historical roots, often associated with cultural and religious beliefs. For example, in many cultures, the right hand is considered the "clean" hand and the left hand the "dirty" hand, leading to negative associations with left-handedness.

Moreover, in many societies, left-handedness was associated with negative stereotypes, such as clumsiness or even witchcraft. In fact, the word "sinister" originally meant "left" or "left-handed."

Impact of Left-Handed Discrimination

Left-handed discrimination can have negative impacts on education, employment, and mental health. In the classroom, left-handed individuals may face difficulties with tools designed for right-handed individuals, leading to frustration and lower performance. Moreover, left-handed individuals may face workplace challenges due to tools or equipment designed for right-handed individuals.

The psychological effects of left-handed discrimination can be long-lasting, leading to feelings of isolation and anxiety. Research shows that left-handed individuals are more likely to experience depression and anxiety, perhaps due to the societal pressures and negative attitudes towards left-handedness.

Combating Left-Handed Discrimination

Several ways to combat left-handed discrimination include legal protections, raising awareness, and promoting left-handedness as a natural variation. For example, in the United States, left-handed individuals are protected by the Americans with Disabilities Act, which prohibits discrimination based on disability.

Raising awareness about left-handed discrimination is crucial to combatting negative attitudes towards left-handed individuals. This can be done through education in schools and workplaces, as well as through media campaigns.

Moreover, promoting left-handedness as a natural variation can help combat negative attitudes towards left-handed individuals. For example, highlighting the many successful left-handed individuals throughout history, from Albert Einstein to Oprah Winfrey, can help to normalize left-handedness and reduce negative stereotypes.


Left-handed discrimination is a pervasive issue that can have negative impacts on the lives of left-handed individuals. While the origins of left-handed discrimination may be historical, it is crucial to combat negative attitudes towards left-handedness in the present day. Through legal protections, awareness-raising, and promoting left-handedness as a natural variation, we can work towards creating a more inclusive and accepting society.

Sammy Southpaw

Sammy Southpaw

Sammy Southpaw: Left-handed, left-leaning, and left in every sense of the word. Writer, musician, and southpaw enthusiast.